Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Needle Woven Fillings: a Huge Variety of Them!


Amazon Books

You might remember that, last autumn, I was fiddling around a bit with some fun needle woven fillings that can be used to add color, texture, and pattern to large areas of embroidery.

Needle weaving is pretty much just weaving embroidery thread on the surface of fabric. In concept, it’s not too complicated. But the results that you can achieve by following a variety of patterns and by working with different types of threads, colors, textures, and whatnot are pretty amazing!

If you’ve had a bit of a hankering to try out needle weaving on your embroidery projects, you’re in luck! Hazel Blomkamp has put together a terrific little instructional book called Needle Weaving Techniques for Hand Embroidery, and it’s chockfull of so many patterns that you’ll never tire of the offerings!

I’m excited about this instructional book! Let me show you why…

Needle Weaving Techniques for Hand Embroidery by Hazel Blomkamp

This is the cover of the book. It’s a small flip book, with a spiral binding on the top, so that you can set the book flat in front of you and follow the patterns more easily that way. You can also slide a magnetic board behind the pattern page and use the strip magnets that come with the book to mark your way as you work through a pattern.

Now, the cover is interesting, I think. It looks like a crazy quilt square in the background, doesn’t it? Well, Hazel is just crazy enough with her “crazy quilting” that her crazy quilting isn’t crazy quilting at all!

Did you follow that? Perhaps I should explain.

Even though all those background patterns in the photo on the cover of the book look like fabric, they aren’t fabric. They’re actually areas of hand embroidered fillings worked on the surface of a piece of fabric. The edges of the various areas are embroidered and embellished further, as is done in crazy quilting.

Hazel uses a terrific variety of woven fillings to create fabric-like filled areas on the surface of her embroidery. You can see these techniques used in many of her designs in her book, Crewel Intentions.

In fact, if you’ve been following my attempts on Late Harvest, you’ve seen it done already:

Late Harvest embroidery project

In Needle Weaving Techniques for Hand Embroidery, Hazel concentrates just on needle woven fillings, offering a variety of filling patterns that can be used in all kinds of surface embroidery applications.

Needle Weaving Techniques for Hand Embroidery by Hazel Blomkamp

The booklet begins with general instructions on using the book and the basics of needle weaving.

All the techniques you need to know are right in the front of the book.

From there, it’s just a matter of applying those techniques when working the various patterns presented in the book.

Needle Weaving Techniques for Hand Embroidery by Hazel Blomkamp

As long as you start at the beginning of the book, following the basic instructions, and then work your way through the book from the simpler to more complex patterns, you’ll have no problem achieving beautiful and intricate needle woven fillings on your own embroidery projects.

Needle Weaving Techniques for Hand Embroidery by Hazel Blomkamp

The filling patterns start with the very simple…

Needle Weaving Techniques for Hand Embroidery by Hazel Blomkamp

…and they move forward to pretty darned complex!

It would be fun to use the book to build a sampler in one or two inch blocks, or even in various shapes all worked together (kind of like my Lattice Jumble Sampler, only with woven fillings rather than lattice stitches).

I hope to have a lot of fun, playing about with some of these fillings this year. I like the idea of working dense patterns as filled areas on surface embroidery, and I’ve got a few ideas brewing in my noggin. Ah, me…

Needle Weaving Techniques for Hand Embroidery by Hazel Blomkamp

Hazel has also published a similar booklet on needle lace techniques to use as fillings and edges, and it’s set up the same way: introduction and basic techniques, followed by pattern blocks to follow, all arranged from simple to more complex.

If you enjoy needle lace, if you do a lot of whitework and the like, if you’re working on stumpwork pieces that might employ different types of needle lace, this would be a great reference book to have on hand!

Update: 2017

Earlier this year, Search Press published both of Hazel’s technique books in a new format.

Needle weaving and needle lace techniques

Both books are available now in a new binding, and you can read about them here.

Where to Find

Both books are now available, published by Search Press, through the following book affiliates:

Needle Weaving Techniques is available in the US here through Amazon, and worldwide with free shipping here from Book Depository.

Needle Lace Techniques is available in the US here through Amazon, and worldwide with free shipping here from Book Depository.

The Search Press publications come with hard covers and spiral bindings, to make them easy to use when practicing the techniques. They’re quite nice!


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(17) Comments

  1. Good Monday morning, Mary! Thanks for this review on Hazel Blomkamp’s filling techniques book…I’ll be ordering today.
    Also want to say how much I am enjoying “Lavender Honey and Other Little Things” – now creating the needle holder and it is not only really cute and handy, it’s great practice too.
    Your website is part of my morning routine of checking my favorite online sites…funny how I always check out yours first…and sometimes go no further!

  2. Dear Mary

    This book looks really, really great I do like the embroidery on the front cover of Hazel’s book, it really doesn’t look like embroidery but patterned fabric, fabulous and I really could get my teeth (or should I say fingers) into the complex pattern as you have shown above, that looks really interesting and inviting. This book will go on the top of my wish list, it’s just a shame that you can’t buy it in the UK. Thanks so much for introducing us to Hazel’s Woven Filling book and for sharing the photos and the links to her site.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. This booklet is on my wishlist. I’m just waiting for the Canadian to get better before buying. I already have the Needle Lace techniques booklet and it’s very well written.

  4. Thanks Mary for these great reviews. I have Hazel’s other books and love them, so will be putting these onto the wish (maybe with a kit too ☺). Her books always seem like fun, whilst being very instructional. I’m sure she’d be a lot of fun to stitch with!

  5. Love the review on the needleweaving book. I was looking for that exact information recently and did not know that this book existed. Anyway, I went to order it and found that the shipping is nearly $30, double the price of the book. Well, I’ll need to think this over. Maybe if the author sells on Amazon or Barnes & Noble using their warehouse centers, then the books would be more accessible. Thanks for the posting and stay well, dear.

    1. Hi, Laura – you can choose international airmail, instead of the more expensive shipping method, and it cuts it about in half, for shipping both books (about $14), which is a little more reasonable, anyway!

  6. Don’t tempt me, Mary! I’m now itching to have a go at needlewoven fillings, but first I must get some other things off my embroidery to-do list.
    If you’re looking for more patterns, once you have the techniques mastered, go and look at
    http://www.handweaving.net/draft-collections It has loads of weaving patterns, mostly from old out-of-print books. Like the Antique Pattern Library, it is a free resource but would love a donation if you find it useful. Many of these also translate well to cross-stitch, filet, knitting or similar counted techniques.

    1. I love that resource, Sue! I came across is accidentally when looking for darning patterns. It’s all the same concept, more or less – and there are oh-so-many possibilities!

  7. I checked Barnes & Noble’s website and it lists a new Hazel Blomkamp book coming out june 14 called ‘Hand Stitched Crazy Patchwork’ which includes at least some needle woven and needle lace. I wonder how much of the little instructional books will be in it…I’ll probably end up with all three. Love your website and all the information you give us. Am going to start stitching on Late Harvest today so I can follow along with your hints this year.

  8. Thank you Mary !!! I started stump work about a year ago and I was so excited when you got started on the Hazel Blomkamp project. I just ordered her book on the woven technique. Trial and error for me and By mishap creating my own version of woven and lace embroidery. When you try your best to self teach yourself sometimes nice surprises happen, well sometimes. Anyway, whatever you want to share on the subject of stumpwork I am eager to read!!
    I love the information you and your reader’s share !!

    Winter has finally arrived! Keep warm! Lynn Schofield

  9. Mary,
    It is so good to reconnect. For some reason my computer hadn’t heard from you in a while and I have had some of my own issues and didn’t have time to go to your blog sight to figure it out. I hope you are feeling well. These books are so intriguing. I have been wanting to learn needle weaving and lace making for quite some time and now you have enticed me to add to my list for 2016. I find it almost impossible to find supplies for these things, but I am going to work on it. Glad to have you back. Debbie

  10. It is a great pity that no-one has picked up that the diagram of the circle pattern on the cover of the needlelace book is incorrect. The second row has not got the correct crossings of the thread. A common type of mistake and one I always check for.
    I admire Hazel’s work and standard of books.

  11. Dear Mary

    Thank you for this review. I might buy Hazel’s guide to needle weaving, if only because I bought her ‘Crewel Creatures’ and while the patterns are gorgeous, I am frustrated by the lack of detailed needle weaving instructions, especially concerning needle weaving an irregular shape.


  12. I bought this book after reading a fascinating article about kaketsugi. The author instructs you to weft from one side only. This puzzles me as you’d have trailing threads underneath, or have I misunderstood? I wrote to the author but have not heard from her

    1. When possible, I definitely go back and forth, not all from one side. It doesn’t really make any difference, as long as you’re alternating the over-under sequence in the weaving. I’m not sure why she advocates weaving only from one direction, unless it is simply because of the “comfort” of doing so, depending on if you’re right or left handed. But I prefer not to have the build-up on the back, or to waste the thread.

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